Bernalillo County headquarters prepares to reopen following vandalism

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Bernalillo County is preparing to reopen its downtown headquarters Thursday morning. This comes more than a week after a suspect shot out several windows, and caused nearly $45,000 worth of damage.

County employees have been working from home since Oct. 12. Crews have been working around the clock to make sure the building is safe for their return.

"I think a lot of us thought that you could just board up the glass in the window and sweep the glass up off the floor, and you know, you’re ready to open, but there was certainly more to do than just those things,” said Tia Bland, the communications director for Bernalillo County.

Bland said windows will probably stay boarded up for another three to four months, while the county waits for new glass to come in.

"The glass got into a lot of areas that had to be checked out like the HVAC system, the mechanical workings of the elevator,” Bland said. “So glass had to be cleaned out of those areas, and then of course, we had to clean up glass from the floor as well.”

Bland added that heating and cooling technicians need to clean out one HVAC unit before the building reopens. She also said there was extensive damage to the customer service area, so the county still has to order new equipment and flooring materials.

"We’ve roped off that area and put up a couple of temporary check-in centers for customers when they come in,” she said.

When the county does reopen its doors at 8 a.m. Thursday, Bland said they are expecting to be busy.

"We may have a really long line of couples wanting to come in and get their marriage licenses, because, in terms of impact, when the building was closed, couples looking to get married really could not apply for their marriage license, because by law, you have to come in to do that,” she said.

County officials also want to point out, the Bernalillo County at Alvarado Square building just opened over the summer and is still new. Bland said things were running smoothly until the vandalism occurred.

"It was a bit of a setback,” she said. “We had to deal with it. We’ve dealt with it and we’re ready to open again."